Today Tonight yesterday’s news. As expected, Seven has killed off Today Tonight, except in Adelaide and Perth, and will move to an hour-long news broadcast on the east coast from tonight. A memo to staff from Seven West media boss Tim Worner made the long-tipped announcement this morning.
Today Tonight is being kept in Adelaide and Perth because it easily outrates Nine’s offerings of the hour-long news (which is split into two programs for ratings purposes). A Current Affair has been switched to 7pm where it was doing well until Home and Away returned to Seven last Monday for the 2014 ratings season and snatched back the lead.
Meanwhile, Ten has announced the curious appointment of its Canberra political editor, Hugh Riminton, to co-host the 5pm news in Sydney with Sandra Sully, and he will also host the late news starting later this month. Sully went solo when her former partner, Bill Woods, was flicked in one of Lachlan Murdoch’s cost-cutting sorties in late 2012 (when Ten sacked 60 people from its news business). — Glenn Dyer
Business Spec (and Kohler) behind the paywall. Alan Kohler’s Business Spectator, up until now a free site, is soon to join its News Corp brethren behind the paywall. According to an email sent to subscribers this morning, they can expect to receive an “introductory offer” sometime next week in order to access “premium content”. A subscription will get you access to the “KGB” (Kohler, as well as Robert Gottliebsen and Stephen Bartholomeusz), the DataRoom content, as well as a digital subscription to The Australian. The email didn’t mention whether the offer would work the other way for the Oz’s current digital subscribers, but much of Biz Spec’s premium content is reproduced in the newspaper. Stablemate The Eureka Report is already behind a paywall.
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Kohler said the paywall would “[allow] us to invest in Business Spectator in a way we’ve never been able to before now”. That’s set to include a new homepage, new video content and “a new range of subscriber features”. — Myriam Robin
Thorpedoing the Tele‘s ‘scoop’. What a day Friday was for beloved Olympian Ian Thorpe. The Daily Telegraph splashed “THORPE GOES INTO REHAB” on its front page, and other media outlets were quick to put the story up on their websites, with the Tele as the source …
According to the Telegraph, Thorpey had checked into rehab for alcohol and depression, with the paper describing Thorpe’s life as “the saddest and most heartbreaking story in Australian sport”. The article, by sports editor-at-large Phil Rothfield, quoted only one named source: shock jock Alan Jones, a friend of Thorpe’s. Jones was quoted as saying: “Yes, it’s serious … Ian is a beautiful person, but he has difficulty recognising his problems.” Rothfield also mentioned Thorpe had fallen earlier in the week and had been injured.
Other quotes in the article came from Thorpe’s autobiography, in which he had detailed his battle with depression. But it seems no one thought to ask Thorpe’s camp about his hospital stay. On Friday afternoon his management released this statement:
“Ian is not in rehab. Ian was in hospital for an operation on his shoulder and is pleased to let his friends and fans know that he is now out of hospital and on the mend.”
Thorpe is now preparing to return home to Switzerland after a hospital visit of just a few days. — Cassidy Knowlton
Rundle: Hendo, worth every penny. Gerard Henderson is still getting used to his new digs, if his performance in The Australian‘s trollapalooza of the ABC on Saturday is any measure. Well down the batting order, Hendo launched an attack on Leftish sites like The Guardian, which “dump” news on the web for free. Yes, those bastards, running a global business model. How dare they. But oh dear, as part of his very odd and bitter rave, he noted The Guardian was “loss-making”.
Gerard, Gerard, you’re at News Increasingly Limited now. With the Fox cash cow now hived off, “loss-making” is close to the bone. Particularly so in Oz, where, as Reuters reports, News Corp has taken a nosedive. Overall, sales are down 22%, with ad revenues down 25%. Twenty-two per cent! Odd because Nick Cater practically runs the show, and he knows what real Australians like.
With the losses of the Oz itself running at $25-30 million a year or more, that works out at an estimated $1 subsidy per print issue. Given that a fair few of these are freebies at airports and hotels, Rupert is actually paying us to ride his hobby horse. Or put it another way: assessing the loss at a conservative half-million a week, and assuming a generous 1000 articles published per week, that works out at around 500 bucks subsidy per piece, including Gerard’s pearls of wisdom. For the lulz, Hendo, in the words of L’Oreal, you’re worth it. — Guy Rundle
Video of the day. The world is mourning Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, today found dead in his New York City apartment. Here he is in his Oscar-nominated turn as L. Ron Hubbard-like figure Lancaster Dodd. It’s one of Hoffman’s most powerful scenes …